The God-Ache Within Us

Desire for God

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for.” (1)

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Have you ever wanted some “thing” so much that you pursued it with persistence and perseverance, expended a great deal of time and energy and, perhaps, money into seeking a way to have it– only to discover that when you finally obtained it, you lost that feeling of really needing or even wanting it? In a short time, the item might be stuffed away in a closet, unused and forgotten, eventually ending up in a garage sale. “I have it now, so what’s the next ‘thing’ that gives me the same feeling of want and desire because I don’t have it yet?”

What we desire and want say a lot about us. How we pursue those things also speaks volumes. These are physical, observable wants, but what is really special to us and what we truly “ache for” may be hidden in a solitary quest of the heart and soul, only seen by God, El Roi, Who sees all.

“What makes something special is not just what you have to gain but what you feel there is to lose.”(2)  Something that is very special goes beyond the “gain” of merely having it– to the “ache” of loss without it.

What do we truly “ache for?” Do we have an “ache” inside for Christ that is such a special desire and a want that we would do anything to never lose Him? Would we pursue a relationship with God at a greater degree of persistence and perseverance, giving our time in abundance, for such a yearning in our hearts and souls for Him?

The scriptures speak to this ache and yearning for the Lord, our God:

Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. . .

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 

Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 143:6  I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.                        

John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”          

John 7:37-38 37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

What we earnestly seek, we will find, if it is in God. What we find, we will hold dear in the God-given soul that aches for Him and longs to be with Him eternally.

Thank you, Lord, for this God-ache within us that yearns for You. Only in You can we fulfill all our wants, our desires, and our needs. Only in You, can we find true satisfaction and peace.  Amen.

(1) Oriah Mountain Dream, poet

(2) Andre Agassi, tennis pro

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/13/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

The Touch of the Master’s Presence

Raindrops lightly tapping against an uncovered head;

A strong wind pushing a young boy ahead of his steps;

The tree branch brushing across the face of a hiker;

A bee striking the hand of a woman in her garden;

The mother cradling her newborn son gently in her arms–

The Touch of the Master, who was in the beginning,

Creating with the touch of His voice,

Who Is and Will Forever Be a Presence.

We cannot go where the Master’s touch is not upon us.

 JESUS PHYSICALLY TOUCHED OTHERS IN HIS LIFE HERE.

The Master’s touch healed a leper:

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:3)

The Master’s touch restored sight to the blind:

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

The Master’s touch raised the dead to life again:

12 As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then He went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15)

The Master’s touch calmed the fears of the disciples:

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17: 5-7)

Touching the Master brought Thomas to belief in the resurrection of Jesus:

25But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:25-29)

 Although we have not seen, we have each been touched by the Master. We have felt His presence in all of creation around us; our fears have been calmed by His promises; sight has been restored more clearly to us by His Word; healing has taken place within us through His sacrifice; eternal life has been promised to us when we touch the hands and feet of the Savior, feel the nail wounds through faith—and BELIEVE.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/06/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

Praying Heart Whispers: Can We Hear Them?

        Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.                                                                    (Galatians 6:2)

Somewhere beneath the laughter

If we listen loud enough,

We can hear the heart-sounds whisper:

“I am hurting; I am sad.

Can you help me? Do you hear me?

I am struggling; it is hard.”

Whispers speak above the laughter-

When we listen loud enough.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

We are commanded to help each other and share the burdens and sorrows of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Can we hear their heart-sounds whispering to us? Do we listen loud enough?

Do we each read the list of names and the prayer requests in our weekly prayer insert in the bulletin? Do heart-sounds begin whispering to us? Can we hear the hurts, the sorrows, the disappointments, the regrets, the frustrations, the struggles, the pains, the burdens, the loneliness, the concerns, the fears, the losses, the needs, the wants, the hopes. . .

Do we pray the whispers?

How often do we pass each other and hear only the laughter? There are whispers from the heart being spoken all around us. Sometimes, they are written down for public prayer; sometimes, they are shared quietly with those we feel closest to; sometimes, they are not spoken at all—yet God still hears.  “. . . Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” (Psalm 44:21)

God will always hear the whispers of our hearts, but for us to hear what is unspoken, we need Jesus in our own heart to help us listen to the murmurs. Let us know each other more deeply–beyond the surface, beneath the laughter—and listen with our hearts, more like Jesus.  “. . .The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) In order to “carry each other’s burdens,” we must also look at the hearts of our brothers and sisters—and listen loud enough.

(Sharon G. Tate 07/30/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

A New Creature in the Lord: The Molting Process

 

21 When you heard about Christ and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 21-24)

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Flower petals wither and die as new blossoms bud;

Tree branches are pruned to create new growth;

Arthropods shed exoskeletons for development.

The process of nature, as created by God,

Evidences the need to change, to shed, to die

So the life within can break free and grow anew.

Departing from the old former ways, the past, the familiar, the comfortable is never easy. Change involves the unfamiliar, an uncertainty, the unknown, an anxiety. The shells we have created for the housing of our lives seem like safe refuge, but they do not allow us to grow and mature.

Something must be shed, discarded, removed, or pruned for the beginnings of new life to sprout. To live beyond this human existence, we must cast off the old self of sin to no longer be enslaved in the exoskeleton of this life and begin as new creatures in Christ.

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. (Romans 6:6-8)

22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23)

Shedding the exoskeleton of this life, our old shell, leaves us exposed and vulnerable as new babes in Christ. It is a time to find refuge in the safety and security of Christ, to gain strength and wisdom in the knowledge of the Word, and to seek fellowship with those who are more mature in the faith. The molting process of becoming the person God wants us to be is a time of growth, painful but joyous, as we see the change in us develop more and more clearly into the image of Christ.

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/23/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

Longing for Our Heavenly Home

2 “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3)

 HOME

He

Offers

Me

Entrance

We may have many “homes” in this life—in childhood, young adulthood, in marriage, with children, in retirement, at an assisted living, in a nursing home–but all are temporal and not truly our HOME.

Mom and dad, brother and sister, wife and husband, son and daughter, peers and roommates. Hopes and sorrows, realities and dreams, joys and sadness, tears and laughter. Our “homes” on earth may have special and dear places in our hearts, but there is still always a longing unfulfilled to go HOME.

Joy without sadness, no tears or sorrows, hope and longing fulfilled, dreams no longer needed, the reality of eternity with the Lord. HOME.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (2 Corinthians 5:1)

HOME: He offers me entrance. It is my choice to enter through Him.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:16-17)

 HOME: He offers me eternity. It is my choice to accept through Him.

 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. (Psalm 23:6)

 As we sojourn on this earth in “homes” of our making, let us always prepare for entrance to our true HOME with God. He is waiting.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/16/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Seeking God in His Creation

 

Through Him all things were made; without Him

nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3)

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She lived in Texas on flat lands with short, scraggly trees.  Water was pumped out back for kitchen use. Small water tanks were located around the dusty farm land. Grandma had never been to MI before. When she came, we took her to see one of the Great Lakes. The body of water was immense with no end in sight. She was overwhelmed. And yet, she kept looking behind her, upward at the trees, in total awe. The trees had a visible end at the top, unlike the water which seemed to flow on and on, but through the treetops, light rays danced and played on the branches, shining through to the forest floor. She would gaze out at the water but always turned back to peer intently upward at the trees and the light.

The trees had been there for many years, solid and sturdy, weather-worn, but withstanding many storms of life. The older ones were living stories. The first story they could tell was of the Creator, the Light that grew the seed. There were layers to a tree, mysteries of creation within. Tree rings depicted its age, a circle of life.

We must look up to a tree. But how often do we actually stand, humbled, before God’s creation and truly stare upward in awe, capturing the beauty through the lens of the eye. Sometimes, Michigan is referred to as “God’s country.” Maybe the vast population of trees towering above the landscape, reaching upward to the sky and the light, reaching upward to God, is part of the reason for this appellation.

 “A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray.” 1

 Trees have always pointed the way to God, like all His creation. As they stand tall and dominant above us, we cannot help but seek the heavens beyond the treetops and capture the light in our own eyes. “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.” (Matthew 6:22)

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

 Did you ever carve your initials in a tree? Did you stop, look up,

and appreciate that God was there before you?

 “Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.” 1

1Kilmer, Joyce. “Trees.” poets.org

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/09/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

GOD-GIVEN FREEDOM: Be Still and Know

 

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom. 

(Isaiah 40:28)

The eagle silently soars across the expanse of sky; the butterfly lightly lands on a petal; a bee busily buzzes overhead; birds perch precariously from the high wires; and the eagle circles carelessly back, majestic in the sky. FREE!

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)

The man hurriedly rushes to catch the plane, climbing up the escalator steps, pushing past others as he ascends; the woman tends to her flowerbeds amid consistent interruptions of texts, messages, and Facebook posts–and  she must respond; the workers try to meet the schedule of tasks to be done during their shift, missing breaks, half devouring a sandwich for lunch; parents come home from work with fast food, pack the children in the SUV, drop one off at baseball practice, one at dance class, and the other at gymnastics while they do an hour’s worth of grocery shopping and watch the time for  synchronization of child pickup. FREE?

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.

(Isaiah 40:29-31)

 FREEDOM IS GOD-GIVEN.

Freedom is our choice to accept.

God made it simple:

 Do not worry about your life.

Your eternity is prepared.

I AM is there, waiting.

I AM is here, strengthening.

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

 A call to faith, a call to choose freedom through the Lord and end our servitude to the hurried rush of this world. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 07/02/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Keeping the Word in our Hearts

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  (Matthew 4: 1-3)

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The weakest moment.

The challenge.

The test.

The answer.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)

When tested

Be ready

To answer

With the Word.

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The weakest moments. The voice whispering, “Go ahead. It’s okay. Just this once won’t hurt. Try it.” How will we respond to the prompting, the teasing, the tempting, the urging and still hold true to faith—unless we have the Word readily before us as our reaction, our response, and our action.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The Savior understands our weakest moments.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15)

The test given. The weakest moment. Forty days of fasting. Hunger.

The response made. The living embodiment of the Word spoke the Word of God: “It is written.”

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) 

The tempter’s challenge met.

When tested

Be ready

To answer

With the WORD.

   (Sharon G. Tate blog 06/25/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Leading children to God the Father

“Do not call anyone on earth your Father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)

ONE EARTHLY DAD

DADS .  . .  Strong hands lifting us up to the sky.  Sitting on top of his shoulders, seeing the world from his view.  Holding us in his lap while reading the same story again and again with the same emphasis and emotion.  Sending us to our rooms for time out.  Praying to God at the dinner table. Patiently helping us learn how to ride a bike.  Clapping loudly and yelling out our names when we sing our one solo line at the fourth grade choir performance. Sitting downstairs in the chair asleep, waiting for us to get home from that first date.  Writing the first check toward our college tuition. Walking us down the aisle on our wedding day.  Proudly holding the first grandchild, while remembering holding us for the first time.

DADS . . . The scent of after shave. The feel of a scruffy beard. The touch of calloused hands. The tall presence with big shoes.  The stern voice. The patient voice. The whisper of love

DADS . . . God gave each of us a dad. Some were present in our lives; some were not, even when physically present. Other dads gave us a sense of the one Father we share, as we were sheltered under his protection, discipline, and love.

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ONE HEAVENLY FATHER  of us ALL

FATHER: We each share the same One.“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

FATHER: He created us from the beginning. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

FATHER: His love is beyond earthly parenting. He blessed us by calling us His own children. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)

FATHER: He has given us blessings beyond this temporal world. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:3) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)

FATHER: He is merciful to us who do not deserve mercy  and the giver of all comfort when we seek Him. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

FATHER: He provides for us in all ways, even when we do not ask, even beyond what we can ask. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” ( Matthew 6:26)

FATHER: He disciplines us with love to lead us on the right path. 11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3: 11-12)

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Dads who follow the Lord and trust fully in Him can be the example for their children, showing them a glimpse of the character traits of the Father.

Dads can help lead their children to the Lord.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 06/18/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

WHO ARE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

WHO IS MY SON?

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29)

Jesus answered the expert in law’s question with a parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three people reacted to the man’s plight—two passing by on either side of the road, one stopping and going the extra mile to provide assistance and healing.

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied,

“The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

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My mother is the 85-year-old woman in the nursing home who looks out the window waiting for someone to come;  my brother is the unemployed father of three who stands in line with 500 others hoping for a job; my son is the recently discharged soldier grappling with PTSD and depression; my neighbor is the child fleeing from a country where he is underfed and abused.
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Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, neighbors. We tend to have a very limited view of family and neighbors. God’s perspective is much larger, broader, and inclusive. The bloodline of family with God is really from Christ, not from our great-great-greats…. down the lineage of personal ancestry. My neighbors are, also, my family, each one created by God.

In every person, I can find a common heritage, a common Savior, a common love. I should not see with eyes that only view similarity; I must, also, look into the differences and find commonality in them. The commonality is from that portion of God’s divine nature imbued in each soul. It is my directive as well to show acceptance, mercy, and love to others who are my “neighbors.” I, too, must “Go and do likewise.”

And what if everyone followed this directive. . .

(Sharon G. Tate 06/11/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word